The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 3/17St. Patrick's Day: In Da PubPeople who take jabs at Kells, Fado, and F.X. McRory's for being St. Patrick's Day amateur hours (and hours, and hours) are the same as those who lament the existence of Pioneer Square. Nonsense—downtown drinkers need those sponges, though I prefer to avoid the spillage by heading north to Conor Byrne, you'll be well clear of the spill. Owned by three 30-something lads—66.6 percent of whom are 100 percent Irish—Conor's would celebrate St. Patty's Day anyway, but the recently completed installation of a new front entrance means that co-proprietor Diarmuid Cullen has placed a special order for a batch of Middleton Very Rare Irish Whiskey, which he'll sell at $35 a shot (sip it, don't rip it). Musical entertainment will be handled by Crumac (3–6 p.m.) and the Tallboys (9 p.m.–midnight), the new door will open at noon instead of 4, and Guinness will be poured into 20-ounce glasses on a day when most bars cheat with plastic. (21 and over.) Conor Byrne, 5140 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-3640, conorbyrnepub.com. $10. Noon–2 a.m. MIKE SEELYBooks/Food: Looking for LevityIt took the success of Curb Your Enthusiasm to make Jeff Garlin a household name (well, among households that have HBO), and his serene counterweight to Larry David has also made them the best comic duo on television. But then there are the fat jokes, some of them cruel. Garlin's weight has gone up and down, and there's a tendency—see Oliver Hardy, Fatty Arbuckle, and John Candy—to ignore the pathos of the chubby sidekick Oh, look—he's stuffing his face! Hilarious, except when it's not. Garlin put food in the title of his sweet, little-seen 2006 rom-com I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With, and now he's written a comic memoir about the serious consequences of obesity: My Footprint: Carrying the Weight of the World (Simon & Schuster, $25). He suffered a stroke 10 years ago (go back and watch the first few episodes of Curb), and he admits to being a compulsive overeater. The book follows Garlin's efforts to curtail his diet, add exercise, and lessen his environmental impact. (He even attempts—gasp!—to ride the bus in L.A.) Yet as you'd expect in an account that includes a visit to Richard Simmons, the author pokes fun at the whole process. "I screw up so much on my journey," he says. Even so, you want him to succeed. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, townhallseattle.org. $5. 7:30 p.m. (Also: 7:30 p.m. Thurs. at Parlor Live Comedy Club in Bellevue.) BRIAN MILLERTHURSDAY 3/18Stage: In Love With AMWhen Justin Bond rose to cult status in the early '90s incarnating the boozy-songstress half of cabaret duo Kiki and Herb, he knew audiences took from his prickly gender-bending only whatever they could handle. "If they were, like, 'Oh, it's drag! Look at the big clown!,' and that's as deep as they wanted to go, well, that was there for them," he once told me. "Or if they wanted something that was funny, it was funny. If they wanted something that was a little bit more profound, if they wanted to go there, they could go there." A bit of advice: Go there with Bond; he'll lead you to unexpected raptures. In and out of drag in his Kiki-less, Herb-less new solo show Angels of the Morning: The Ladies of AM Radio, he celebrates the incantatory pull of popular music too often dismissed with easy irony. His deep, raging rattle of a voice shakes the kitsch off classics like the Carpenters' "Superstar," backed by a band that includes local heroes Kurt Bloch and Jim Sangster of the Young Fresh Fellows. And, yes, Bond remains an acid raconteur in Angels. He introduces "You're So Vain" with this thought: "Ladies and gentlemen, when a narcissist falls in love with you, you feel really special." The Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333, thetripledoor.net. $22–$25. 8 p.m. STEVE WIECKINGDance: Fresh DemandsPeter Boal has been expanding Pacific Northwest Ballet's repertory since he got here five years ago, and one of the first additions he made was Ulysses Dove's visceral 1994 Red Angels. For this revival, part of a program called 3 by Dove, a quartet of scarlet-clad dancers will take their cues from solo violinist Mary Rowell. Boal has since added Vespers (1986), based on female family members recollected by the late choreographer (1947–96). Dove's legacy in contemporary dance is the sheer physicality of his material, and tonight's PNB premiere, the 1992 Serious Pleasures, is subtitled "the merciless battle between spirit and flesh"—battle being the key word and an indicator of its demands on the dancers. Thematically, as in flesh, the piece looks back to the dawning AIDS epidemic in the '80s. Also on the bill ("for mature audiences," according to PNB): a hip-hop/ballet hybrid by rising young L.A. choreographer Victor Quijada, who claims Dove as an influence. Commissioned by Boal in 2006, Suspension of Disbelief promises to push PNB's hyper-skilled dancers outside traditional boundaries—a little farther from Balanchine, a little closer to the barrio. (Ends March 28.) McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St., 441-2424, pnb.org. $25–$160. 7:30 p.m. SANDRA KURTZFRIDAY 3/19Stage: Likes and DislikesThe hybrid Hugo Literary Series concludes with a typically eccentric mashup of literary and performing artists. The topic is "Laws of Attraction," which ought to accommodate the broad range of talents on display. Their assignment is to create new work in the field of what might be called non-Newtonian physics—why things, and people, come together or are mutually repelled. Meaning unmatched socks, ex-spouses, anchovies and lox, childhood sweethearts, cats and dogs, dailies and alt-weeklies, Superman and kryptonite, rum and Coke...any possible combination of likely or unlikely elements. Eminent visiting essayist Phillip Lopate will read his response, based on his four decades of reporting on the arts and culture of New York (often mining his own life for material). He joins locals Marya Sea Kaminski (the actress recently acclaimed in the title role in Seattle Shakespeare Co.'s Electra), band Happy Hour Hero (Strength in Numbers), and poet Emily Warn (The Leaf Path). Even if you don't like the results, that may prove their theses. UW Kane Hall, Room 120, 322-7030, hugohouse.org. $15–$25. 7:30 p.m. T. BONDSUNDAY 3/21Sports: Lactic Acid BathIn its 24th year, The Big Climb is a charity fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Teams and individuals compete—at staggered start times—not only to climb the 1,311 stairs up Columbia Center but also to raise the most money for LLS. Northwest firefighters made the same 788-foot ascent two weekends back—wearing 50 pounds of gear!—for the same cause. The winner took just under 11 minutes. Today is the chance for stripped-down endurance athletes to test their legs of steel against the clock. Last year, a 19-year-old Canadian guy came close to breaking seven minutes for the race, which twists up 69 flights to the tower's observation deck. (Just keep turning left until you're done.) To put that in perspective, for the average Green Lake plodder or Mt. Si trail runner, the climb is a short, leg-burning sprint with the aerobic punch of a 3,000-meter race. Meaning the lactic-acid burn in your quads will gradually overtake your lungs until you start slowing down like Sisyphus (minus the rock). And when it's over, you'll never complain about Stairmaster ever again. Columbia Center, 701 Fifth Ave., 628-0777, bigclimb.org. $40 and up. 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m. T. BONDFilm: A Long Sit for SIFFIt is a bad time for any arts organization to be trying to raise money, yet SIFF continues to slog ahead—slowly—with its $3 million dream of converting the old Alki Room at Seattle Center into a permanent headquarters. (But on the bright side of our benighted economy: SIFF's current South Lake Union digs, in a Paul Allen–owned building, aren't likely to be bulldozed soon either.) So to raise capital from the faithful, six favorite flicks will be screened in the 12-Hour Movie Marathon, with a variety of perks—Pillows! Lunch! Champagne!—depending on your ticket level. Dan Ireland, who co-founded SIFF back in 1976, will appear to introduce the opening The Whole Wide World (1996), which helped make a star of Renée Zellweger. (Um, thanks for that?) Then after To Die For, The Road Warrior, Blood Simple, and The Fourth Man, Bainbridge Island's own Alan Rudolph will discuss his 1985 Trouble in Mind, a larky, latter-day noir shot in Seattle with prominent appearances by the monorail, the Space Needle, and Divine (not in drag for once). All of which may whet your filmgoing appetite for SIFF, which begins May 20—only two short months away. SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St. (McCaw Hall), 448-2186, siff.net. $100–$500. 9 a.m. (brunch), 10 a.m. (movies begin). BRIAN MILLERTUESDAY 3/23Stage: Politics and PageantryDuring this past Chinese New Year, Shen Yun made headlines when people walked out of its Radio City Music Hall performance. The objection? Woven into the opulent display of classical Chinese choreography, graceful martial arts, ethnic folk dance, and acrobatics were scenes depicting the religious persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. Derided as an evil cult by the Chinese government, Falun Gong is loosely based on qigong, Buddhist, and Taoist concepts—with some madcap tidbits thrown in, such as the belief that space aliens corrupted humanity with science. While not explicitly affiliated, the New York–based Shen Yun has never kept its empathies secret. Its primary impetus, to celebrate and elaborate the art forms of pre-Communist China, is done with unparalleled skill: Every show is a spectacle of lavish Imperial processions, gentle wushu displays, and evocative erhu solos, set against IMAX-worthy digital backdrops of celestial palaces, Mongolian grasslands, and drifting flower petals. A 40-piece orchestra accompanies the age-old folk dances of Tibet, Mongolia, and Korea, and performers drum on their bodies with fistfuls of chopsticks and twirl with teacups atop their heads. But despite the grandeur, Shen Yun does not shy away from the historical movements and spiritual underpinnings that inform its art. If that means portraying human-rights violations in Tibet or Tianjin, so be it. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., 877-784-4849, stgpresents.com. $45–$105. 7:30 p.m. (Repeats Wed.) SILKE TUDOR

 
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